Guyana is an English-speaking country in South America and, culturally, it is part of the Caribbean. Objective of this study was to determine the community prevalence and true burden and economic impact of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) and foodborne diseases (FBDs) in Guyana. A cross-sectional population-based survey was conducted in 7 of the 10 regions in Guyana during August and November 2009 to capture the high- and low-AGE season respectively. Overall, 1,254 individual surveys were administered at a response rate of 96.5%. The overall monthly prevalence of self-reported cases of AGE was 7.7% (97 cases) (95% CI 6.3-9.3), and the yearly incidence was 1.0 episodes per person-year. The highest monthly prevalence of AGE was observed in region 4 (8.9%) and in children aged 1-4 year(s) (12.7%). Of the 97 AGE cases, 23% sought medical care; 65% reported spending time at home due to their illness [range 1-20 day(s), mean 2.7 days], of whom 51% required other individuals to look after them while ill. The maximum number of stools per 24 hours ranged from 3 to 9 (mean 4.5), and number of days an individual suffered from AGE ranged from 1 to 21 day(s) (mean 2.7 days). The burden of syndromic AGE cases in the population for 2009 was estimated to be 131,012 cases compared to the reported 30,468 cases (76.7% underreporting), which implies that, for every syndromic case of AGE reported, there were additional 4.3 cases occurring in the community. For every laboratory-confirmed case of FBD/AGE pathogen reported, it was estimated that approximately 2,881 more cases were occurring in the population. Giardia was the most common foodborne pathogen isolated. The minimum estimated annual cost associated with the treatment for AGE was US$ 2,358,233.2, showing that AGE and FBD pose a huge economic burden on Guyana. Underreporting of AGE and foodborne pathogens, stool collection, and laboratory capacity were major gaps, affecting the surveillance of AGE in Guyana.
Issn1606-0997 (Print) 2072-1315 (Electronic)
JournaltitleJournal of Health, Population, and Nutrition